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Matt in OC

Hellstrip ground cover suggestions

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Matt in OC

I'd be curious to hear any suggestions for hellstrip ground cover that looks tropical, low maintenance unarmed, and full sun. What works for you?

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Josue Diaz

It doesn't look tropical, but the best ground cover I've found is Dichondra repens, the cultivar called Silver Falls, specifically. It is soft, takes a ton of abuse, drought, sun, heat... and it roots where the stems touch the ground so it creates a very dense mat that keeps weeds at bay. it's super easy to propagate also - just take 6 inch clippings and stick them in the ground. 

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Edited by Josue Diaz
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Umbrae

Ornamental peanuts?

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Matt in OC

Thanks for the recommendations! Also open to low-growing shrubs.

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Palm Tree Jim

I have tried several options when it came to ground cover.

Although easy to grow, I have always ended up taking it out.......I must be a gluten for punishment!

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Silas_Sancona

Lower growing Salvia sp / cultivars, like the ones @Josue Diaz is using are great for tough spots / curb-side strips.. Lots of color options as well.  

Depending on the overall space you have to work with, you could also mix in taller stuff like Arabian jasmine if the spot gets some shade ( Though it might do fine in more sun there.. Full / mostly full sun  here = often a bad idea /  burns in the summer  ) and occasionally keep it in check.. just not trimmed into a ball. 

Still curious if anyone has tried Sunshine Mimosa ( Mimosa strigulosa, TX / FL native.. not the invasive exotic sp. ) out there for a ground cover option.. Neat, ferny foliage, low growing and flowers..  Takes a lot more abuse than Moss Verbena.  Might have to order starter plants from out of state though. Obtained seed to work with later.

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Tracy
6 hours ago, Matt in OC said:

Also open to low-growing shrubs

A low growing shrub I am using is actually a mutant form of the Acacia cognata tree, called Cousin Itt.  I see the name "Cousin Itt Little River Waddle" as well.  Itt (pun intended) handles both sun and shade in my coastal location, and is pictured in the brick planter below the Pritchardia in my photo.  You can trim it to keep it contained in an area.  The only warning I have is that it I've noticed that if I get the regular palm fertilizer I use (Best Products Palm Plus), it tends to brown.  One local nursery here told me that he thinks they are hyper sensitive to potassium, but I can't confirm how he determined that was the ingredient that caused the burning.  Since the mound extends beyond the root system, I've been able to avoid the problem now.  Depending on the look you want it might be an option.  They don't seem to demand too much water once they get established, as I have them mixed in with Cycads and Aloes in some areas.

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Chester B

St. Johns Wort. - Hypericum calycinum.

It's used in commercial plantings here and can take the abuse, however I can't say as to how well it would do in California. Once you have it you'll never get rid of it though.  It's evergreen and has nice yellow flowers that the bees love. 

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LoamWolf

Dymondia margaretae works well for us. Its pretty darn bulletproof!

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Silas_Sancona
1 minute ago, Missi said:

Mimosa strigillosa :wub:

Agreed.. CA peeps don't know what they're missing out on:laugh2:  

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greysrigging

What about ornamental Sweet Potato  ? Extremely tough and hardy plant. In my home town ( Darwin ) they are planted on median strips between 4 lane roads ( a pretty harsh environment ) and they look great. I have both the ones in the pictured article. Easy to grow from cuttings and they love sun and heat.

https://gardendrum.com/2012/05/16/ornamental-sweet-potatoes/

Edited by greysrigging
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Silas_Sancona
5 hours ago, greysrigging said:

What about ornamental Sweet Potato  ? Extremely tough and hardy plant. In my home town ( Darwin ) they are planted on median strips between 4 lane roads ( a pretty harsh environment ) and they look great. I have both the ones in the pictured article. Easy to grow from cuttings and they love sun and heat.

https://gardendrum.com/2012/05/16/ornamental-sweet-potatoes/

While i can't speak for it's performance in Southern CA, here, in the desert, it is used in many,  more upscale commercial landscapes  during the summer and actually performs well in our brutal summer sun / un-ending 100F/ 38C+ heat... as long as it gets plenty of water,  particularly the Lime -green leaved types.. Darker leaved ones perform best in shade.  It's biggest draw back here (and noticed the same thing would occur in Florida.. suspect the same situation happening in CA. esp. during wet/cool winters ) is it will become ragged and look quite "exhausted" come winter. Instead of just cutting it back at that time,  most places yank it out and replant fresh starts by spring.  Left alone, it will return from what Tubers remain in the soil.  

In Florida, and here with filtered, all day shade, it can be a lush looking complement below / in front of  other, taller leafy tropicals like Philodendron, Gingers, ..other flowering stuff like Arabian and Angel Wing Jasmine, Shrimp plant, Brazilian Cloak, etc.. let alone combined w/ said plants and Palms.  In a spot you'd likely not want to water much, not the best option though.

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greysrigging
On 1/18/2019 at 3:55 PM, Silas_Sancona said:

While i can't speak for it's performance in Southern CA, here, in the desert, it is used in many,  more upscale commercial landscapes  during the summer and actually performs well in our brutal summer sun / un-ending 100F/ 38C+ heat... as long as it gets plenty of water,  particularly the Lime -green leaved types.. Darker leaved ones perform best in shade.  It's biggest draw back here (and noticed the same thing would occur in Florida.. suspect the same situation happening in CA. esp. during wet/cool winters ) is it will become ragged and look quite "exhausted" come winter. Instead of just cutting it back at that time,  most places yank it out and replant fresh starts by spring.  Left alone, it will return from what Tubers remain in the soil.  

In Florida, and here with filtered, all day shade, it can be a lush looking complement below / in front of  other, taller leafy tropicals like Philodendron, Gingers, ..other flowering stuff like Arabian and Angel Wing Jasmine, Shrimp plant, Brazilian Cloak, etc.. let alone combined w/ said plants and Palms.  In a spot you'd likely not want to water much, not the best option though.

Yep, they love sun ( heat ) and water.The purple leaf variety and the lime -green one look good planted together ( as I have done at home ) And as you say, if they get ratty, well tubers come to life when it warms up. I also grow the edible white/purple variety as a vegetable crop, they also love heat and water. And if anyone has a water feature, grow a related Asian plant called Kang Kong, very tasty new leaves and shoots, the bonus is white distinctive flowers. It is part of the Ipomoea family ( common name water spinach ) and will grow in a pot that is immersed in the pond or tub. I have to snip mine frequently it grows so well.

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Edited by greysrigging
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